Brucks, Melanie and Szu-chi Huang, “The Creativity Paradox: Soliciting Creative Ideas Undermines Ideation,” under review at Journal of Marketing Research.
When developing product ideas and original marketing content, firms and marketers often organize ideation activities to harvest a rich set of new ideas. We explore a popular paradigm for guiding these activities--explicitly requesting creative ideas--in the context of consumer idea generation contests. We demonstrate that this common practice can paradoxically undermine ideation, decreasing the total number of novel ideas that contestants generate (i.e., ideas rated as surpassing the threshold of average novelty). A single paper meta-analysis across six incentive-compatible ideation contests on different products (toy, office supply, toiletry, and mobile app) involving close to 2,000 contestants estimated that soliciting creative ideas resulted in 1.49 fewer novel ideas per contestant, which amounted to a 20% decrease in productivity and a loss of 500 unique novel ideas in total. This productivity loss occurs because soliciting creative ideas prompts people to self-impose a high standard, which leads to a unique cognitive process that restrains (instead of expands) their thinking. This research also offers important solutions for marketers to ensure the productivity of ideation and fuel innovation.
Brucks, Melanie and Jonathan Levav, “How the Kinesthetic Properties of a Response Scale Affect Judgment,”
The present research investigates how the kinesthetic properties of responding can induce different psychological processes used to generate the response and thus, change the response itself. We test this proposition in the context of radio button and slider scales, two ubiquitous and ostensibly interchangeable response formats that differ in their kinesthetic properties. Across four studies, using questions regarding personality, numerical estimates, moral judgments, willingness to pay, attitudes, net promoter score, consumer satisfaction and philosophical standing, including incentive-compatible contexts, and involving more than 9000 participants, we find that responding using a slider scale yields values closer to the scale endpoint compared to responding using a radio button scale. We posit that the motion of sliding on a scale prompts a serial hypothesis testing process: After passing each value, one momentarily considers whether or not this value is a suitable answer, engages in confirmatory search, leading to the selection of the first response that fits within the latitude of acceptance (i.e., the first to seem suitable). As a result, when the latitude of acceptance is narrower, the effect is attenuated. We document two important downstream consequences of this kinesthetic effect. First, consumers are significantly less certain of their responses when using a slider; and, second, the difference in responses translates to real consumer behavior. These results suggest that subtle kinesthetic changes in our decision environment can significantly impact consumer decision-making.
Kupor, Daniella, Melanie Brucks and Szu-chi Huang, “And the Winner is…? Forecasting the Outcome of Others’ Competitive Efforts,” under review at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
People frequently forecast the outcomes of competitive events. Some forecasts are about oneself (e.g., forecasting how one will perform in an athletic competition, school or job application, or professional contest), while many other forecasts are about others (e.g., predicting the outcome of another individual’s athletic competition, school or job application, or professional contest). In this research, we examine people’s forecasts about others’ competitive outcomes, illuminate a systematic bias in these forecasts, and document the source of this bias as well as its downstream consequences. Six experiments with a total of 1,643 participants in a variety of competitive contexts demonstrate that when observers forecast the outcomes that another individual will experience, they systematically overestimate the probability that this person will win. Importantly, this misprediction stems from a previously undocumented lay belief—the belief that other people generally achieve their intentions—which skews observers’ hypothesis testing. We find that this lay belief biases people’s predictions even in contexts in which the contestant’s intent is unlikely to generate the desired outcome, and even when forecasters are directly incentivized to be accurate.